Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe may be legally off the hook for lying and leaking — but Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) still has questions for him about the Russia probe, the Washington Examiner reports.
The Republican senator wants to know what McCabe and his former boss, FBI Director James Comey, knew about the infamous Russia dossier and when they knew it, Graham told Fox News this week. Graham is launching a Senate probe this week into abuse of the FISA court to spy on the Trump campaign and the origins of the Russia investigation.
“What I’m going to do is call the people who are involved in investigating the counterintelligence investigation. You have 21 people involved that I have named. And I want to find out, what did McCabe and Comey know?” Graham said, according to the Examiner.
Graham pledges to question McCabe
The dossier, prepared by ex-MI6 spy Christopher Steele, was paid for Hillary Clinton and the Democrats. An internal DOJ watchdog report released last year found that the FBI repeatedly lied about the integrity of the dossier and its significance in applications for FISA warrants to surveil Trump campaign aide Carter Page. The FISA spying was part of Operation Crossfire Hurricane, which launched in July of 2016.
In interviews with Sean Hannity and Maria Bartiromo, Sen. Graham identified two points of interest in his investigation. First, he wants to know how Andrew McCabe knew, in July of 2016, that the Steele dossier was located in New York after the FISA warrant was initially denied. Second, he wants to know when McCabe and Comey realized that the dossier was not reliable.
“Who told McCabe that the document was in New York? And if McCabe thought it would help him with the warrant, why didn’t he spend some time trying to find out if it was reliable? So that’s what I’m looking at,” he told Bartiromo.
High-profile witness list
The claims against Trump fell apart, Graham said, in January of 2017 when Steele’s primary “subsource” in Russia dismissed Steele’s outlandish claims as a bunch of “bar talk and hearsay,” Graham said. Why, then, did the FBI top brass persist in spying on Page, and how could Comey and McCabe not have known that the dossier was bunk?
Graham opined: “I find it hard to believe that that didn’t work his way up to Comey and McCabe. Can you imagine how the system must have took the information that the primary document, the dossier, is a bunch of garbage? To think that it didn’t make its way up to the top, it would be hard for me to believe. So, I’m going to find out, did it make its way up to the top?”
The senator has a list of 21 witnesses from whom he wants to hear, according to RealClearPolitics, but he will begin with the four people who heard from the “subsource.” He has said that he intends to question McCabe, Comey, former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, who all signed the FISA warrants.
The FBI and many in Congress are weighing possible reforms of the FISA process, but there has been no spectacular reckoning for McCabe and others in Obama’s FBI who Donald Trump has said played a role in an alleged coup against him. Comey was rebuked by the DOJ for leaking memos the media but never charged. The probe into McCabe’s lying about media leaks was dropped earlier this month.
The former deputy to James Comey was fired in 2018 just 24 hours before he was slated to retire with a full pension. He now has a job at CNN and is suing the FBI for wrongful termination.
Attorney General Bill Barr is overseeing a criminal investigation of the origins of the Trump–Russia probe, and it remains to be seen what will come out of Graham’s investigation.